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  • mistytherapylcsw

Play Therapy Tips: Bonding with your child through GAMES!

Playing board games together as a family has many bonding benefits for you and your child. Additionally, playing board games specifically can help increase your child's skill building in areas such as frustration tolerance, graceful losing, and impulse control. Below are some tips on how to use board games to increase bonding time with your family.

Connecting Through Activities and Games


  • Make sure you are in a time and space where you can focus and be emotionally regulated yourself-being stressed or anxious will expand to your children if you’re not in the best mind-space.

  • Say, “I’m going to put my phone down for the next 30 minutes, so we don’t get interrupted.”Model that behavior and say it explicitly.

  • Make sure your non-verbals are communicating what you want them to communicate. Relax your body, take deep breaths, and smile at your child with eye contact.

Games List for young children:

  • Ring It

  • TicStacToe

  • Train of Thought

  • Spot it

  • Found it

  • Perfection

  • Don’t break the ice

When choosing a game, keep in mind your child’s window of tolerance for frustration. For example, if you know your child does not handle losing well, choose a collaborative game, or a partner game. If they have low frustration tolerance, Perfection may not be a good choice, yet. You are the expert on your child!

Through play therapy, depending on where the child is in treatment, I use these kinds of games to expand children's windows of tolerance, their ability to accept that losing is not a bad thing, and learn how to enjoy the experience instead of allowing their anxiety, perfectionism, need to win, frustration, and emotions dominate how they play. It takes time and this is something you can practice at home, too!

Next, I will share games and tips for bonding with pre-teens and teens. See you soon!


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